Scott Henry, Age 28
Data Technician since 2012
Wolfpack Gold (Nevada) Corporation – Reno, NV
What is your educational background?
Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Nevada, Reno
Why and how did you become a data technician?
I was interested in technology in the geography program and I was competent with GIS software. I knew it was practical, important and I could probably get a job using it, I just didn’t know in which industry. I was curious about city planning and environmental studies, but I ended up stumbling into the mining industry.
What is GIS, what software do you use, and what are their applications?
GIS is the information system all modern digital mapping is created in. The industry standard mapping software is ArcMap, which our company uses extensively for mapping geology and laying out mining claims positions. Really everything we do to develop a project into a mine is ArcMapped.
What is a data technician and what are your job responsibilities?
I really get to dabble in a little of everything! I handle land disputes across all our Nevada properties. I have to make sure all our claims are paid for and in good standing. On the geology side, I have to take old paper maps from the 80’s and convert them into a digital format that we can actually use. I’ll scan and georeference them to define how they exist in physical space, then put the old maps on top of brand spanking new aerial orthoimagery, which is an extremely high-resolution, better-than-satellite, undistorted photograph of a piece of the Earth.
What is the best part of your job?
Every day is a new puzzle—and sometimes you don’t get all the pieces—but it’s your job to figure it out. I get to be a problem solver. I’m provided with the tools and I get to produce a solution. I had the task of taking two completely different paper maps and putting their features into a new, digital map. I was measuring inches on one map and converting them to feet, then converting feet into meters, and then converting meters back into inches on the new map so I knew where to draw in the new features.
What is the best part of working in the mining industry?
The incredible depth and variety. And this company is focused on just the exploration phase! I get to see how every possible skill intertwines just to get one project off the ground: geologists, chemists, hydrologists, statisticians, surveyors, lawyers, historians, even pilots. No matter what your skill set may be I guarantee it could find a spot in the industry.
Any advice to students considering entering the industry?
Get lucky! It’s all about knowing people. I actually ended up in this job because I contacted Izzy at The More You Dig through Facebook. Get out there, talk to people, and get involved with social media. And take whatever job you can get because many temporary assignments can bloom into full-time.